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1482 posts

Uber Geek
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Topic # 182554 20-Oct-2015 20:08
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We have a granite base garden so very difficult to grow.  Very dry and sandy.  Even if you flood the garden up and then you dig into the soil it's actually dry inside. 

Question - we have blueberry for a year now in a pot doing well.  Under instruction we added peat which is acidic.  Because due to our granite garden we bought a pH meter and tested the soil.  The composted garden is 7 and the blueberry is 6.5.  Given the slight difference can we use peat for normal vege plants?  For the blueberry do you suggest we add sulphate ammonia to increase the acidity? 

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106 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1411270 22-Oct-2015 17:57
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6.5 is slightly acid - and is right in the sweet spot.

I'd be wary of attempting to manage ph in a small container garden - it's more trouble than it's worth imho. Unless you are committed to container gardening, and using chemical fertiliser, and willing to go to the effort of micro-managing your grow.

I've found the easiest results in container gardening come from using good compost along with organic fertiliser. If you can build up healthy living soils in your pots, the plants and soil microbes will manage all ph issues, ensure you don't get nutrient deficiency and give way better water retention in dry spells. Also less nutrient leaching from your container.

Peat - you using Yates Hauraki Gold or Tui peat(preloaded with gypsum+blood&bone)?

Peat is a good way of introducing humus into a sandy soil. Would definitely use it in your situation. Along with plenty of good compost and a little gypsum for calcium and sulfur.

Granite is supposed to tend towards acidic, so definitely important to have a source of calcium such as garden lime (calcium carbonate) or gypsum (calcium sulfate). Avoid dolomite lime (calcium magnesium carbonate) as it has too much magnesium compared to the level of calcium - this page has a nice write up of issues when using dolomite.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1411332 22-Oct-2015 19:28
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Yes, I have Tui Peat (yes preloaded with gypsum and blood / bone).  Thanks so I can use this on the general garden then?  About the only thing that grow are lettuce and cucumbers and spring onions.  Even silver-beet and broccoli struggle.  So far I have only used them on blueberries thinking peat was on the acid side. 

I will add some pine needles to the blueberry. 

I have moved the citrus plants back to pots now.  Didn't do very well.  Will apply an application of Yates Conqueror Oil and Yates Copper Oxycholoride.

Images to our garden, the previous owner only had trees and shrubs which we got rid of.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1411426 22-Oct-2015 21:59
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I'd be fine forking in the peat - go nuts. Get a sack or two of high quality bagged compost while you're at it.

A good basic all-round organic fertiliser is Yates Organic Lifter - might be worth while throwing a few handfuls around your plants while you're at it. It'll take some time to build up a rich healthy soil, but definitely keep at it.

Just watch out on fresh pine needles - if they're fresh they're reputed to be slightly acidic. They also take ages to break down - the hard wax coating means they take a good few years before they form a decent leaf mold which will form humus in your soil. If you have heaps of them it might pay to just pile them for a few years before use.

Crappy soil on a steep slope - looks like Wellington?

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1411448 22-Oct-2015 22:56
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Yes pine needles acidic for blueberry.

Yes Wellington. I know friends who bought houses in new areas. No garden at all with a hill at the back look up the neighbours.

Might get a compost bin this year.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1411450 22-Oct-2015 22:59
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Yes we got Yates Potting Mix and Yates Dynamic Lifter Fruit.

The past we used compost and blood bone and sheep pellets into that sandy soil.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1411467 22-Oct-2015 23:45
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You could also visit your local BP or coffee shop and score a bag of grinds. Not only smells good.. but gardenable :)

Added bonus.. snails hate it.

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